Sunday to Sunday. That is how I process a seven-day week. And if there's one thing that I'm a huge fan of, it's taking out a little time (whether it's on a Friday because that's the end of the work week or a Sunday) to process what the last week has been like. It's reflective, sure. Yet as I get older, the real benefit that I see in it is it helps me to be more accountable to how I use my time. Time that is valuable. Time that I can't get back. Time that serves a purpose. Yes y'all, time always serves a purpose.
If we're blessed, a Friday and Sunday are always steadily approaching. As you prepare for the ones that are right in front of you, I've got seven questions that can help you to come to the conclusion if the past week has indeed been time well spent (and valued).
1. Did I Hit All of My Goals?
If you struggle with feeling motivated or you're constantly asking yourself why you are bored all of the time, let me ask you this — do you set weekly short-term goals? There are tons of reasons why it's a really important thing to do. Goals provide direction. Goals help to keep you focused. Goals are good for cultivating self-confidence and boosting your self-esteem. Goals keep you from being stagnant (check out "6 Questions To Ask Yourself To See If You're Stagnant (Or Not)"). Goals are what manifest progress.
While it is a good idea to have both short- and long-term goals, when it comes to processing how a seven-day cycle went, focus most on the short-term ones that you set, then be honest with yourself about whether you reached them or not. Oh, and to keep yourself from getting too overwhelmed, try and only have 1-3 per day. For instance, your goals could be to clean out your closet, get your quarterly taxes together (freelancers know all about that) and to catch-up with one of your long-distance girlfriends on the phone. Honestly, knocking all of this out could take a couple of days on their own, so you don't want to write down so many things that your list becomes unrealistic or overwhelms you. You just need enough to where, once Friday or Sunday rolls around, you can literally pat yourself on the back because you've got evidence that you set goals and then met them.
2. Should I Have Set Better Boundaries?
Speaking of feeling overwhelmed, it's important to keep in mind that if you're feeling that way, it's a pretty solid sign that you have poor boundaries somewhere — even if it's with yourself. Remember that a boundary is nothing more than a limit and since a definition of overwhelmed is "loaded, filled, or addressed with an excessive amount of anything", being in this kind of headspace means that something's gotta give.
Maybe you need to tell people "no" more often (check out "The Art Of Saying 'No' To Things You Don't Want To Do"). Maybe you need to put yourself on a sleep schedule so that you can get more rest. Maybe it's time to leave work at 5 instead of at 8 (can I get an "amen"?). Maybe you need to turn the notifications off of your phone. Maybe you need to stop letting your mom and/or friends and/or church members pressure you into doing things that you really don't want (or need) to do. Maybe you need to stop coddling your kids or internalizing resentment towards your husband because you feel like you are doing most of the work in the home. Maybe you need to pamper yourself more which requires pushing some other things to the side.
Listen, the possibilities here are endless. I'm just saying that boundaries are beneficial and every week that comes to a close, it's wise to (re)evaluate if you set some and then honored them — or if you didn't have many at all. Sometimes it can be difficult to set limits. Just remember that it's hard to flourish as much as you should without some being set in place.
3. What Did I Learn?
Back when I used to choose to remain in toxic "friendships" with people (because remaining in toxicity is a choice; self-accountability will teach you that), something that helped to break me free from it was asking myself if I was becoming a better person as a result of having certain individuals in my life. Because here's the thing about this particular point — while healthy and toxic folks can both teach you things, the huge difference is when something or one is good for you, you will constantly evolve while dealing with unhealthy stuff is basically like Chinese water torture in the sense that the same realization will be knocking you in the head until you finally get it. It's kind of like going to school, learning a lot of different things and graduating vs. being in the same school, still not progressing in one particular class and remaining in the same grade for years on end.
There's a Chinese proverb that simply says, "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think." If you've gone seven days and you can't think of at least three new things that life has taught you, be more proactive about being around people, places, things and ideas that can change the narrative. Learning is a part of growth and growth is what evolves you into becoming a better person.
4. How Did I Improve?
Some people need to leave their job — quick, fast and in a hurry. They know it too. The main reason why is because the work environment that they are currently in isn't doing much to improve them. The same goes for some people and their dating dynamic. And then there are those with poor lifestyle habits. Although Rome wasn't built in a day, we all need to strive to make daily improvements so that, by the end of each week, we can recognize some noticeable developments.
And just what are some indications that you are indeed improving in your life? You're becoming better at holding yourself accountable. You are clearer about what you want as much as what you don't want. You strive to break bad habits by replacing them with better ones. You value your time more. You don't put pride before progress. You look for things that will bring peace and balance to your world. You can tell that you are healing in various areas where you were once super-sensitive or unforgiving.
A good example of this point is, a few weeks ago, someone who used to hurt me, relentlessly so, tried a stunt that caused me to literally laugh in response. At first, I was like, "Why did the universe cause me to witness this at all?" and then I realized, "How would I know that I was 'good' without it transpiring?" That was a sign of clear improvement. That said, one of my favorite definitions of improve is "to bring into a more desirable or excellent condition". By the time the end of the week rolls around, make sure that you can clearly articulate something about you and/or your world that is more desirable and excellent than it was, just a week ago. It can give you a boost of inner strength that you probably didn't know that you needed.
5. Am I Getting Closer to My Long-Term Plans?
Wanna go overseas within the next six months? Wanna start a business? Wanna have kids in the next couple of years? Wanna buy a house or a car? Wanna move to another state? Wanna lose 50 pounds? Wanna get another degree? Wanna learn another language? Wanna save $5,000? Wanna get into a healthy and committed relationship? Cool. Next question — what did you do this week to get closer to your long-term plans? Because it's always important to remember that long-term goals aren't reached without taking small consistent steps.
This is why I think it's essential to write down clear long-term plans and then devote some time, each week, towards making them manifest. I promise you that if you do this on a consistent basis, you'll look up and, this time last year, your life will look really different. All because you did something intentional about your plans on a weekly basis.
6. What Did I Do (or Am Going to Do) to Reward Myself?
A place that I've been parked at, for a minute now, is how important it is to focus on what makes me healthy instead of making happy so much of a priority in my life. Let me tell it, happiness has become a god to some people to the point where they don't honor commitments, they make poor decisions and they become totally self-consumed, all in the name of "doing what makes me happy". Meanwhile, maturity teaches us that sometimes, in order to do what's healthiest, most beneficial, the best overall, we're not going to be happy all of the time. And that's OK. Better than that even.
That's where this question comes in. Say that you hate your job yet you don't want to settle at the next one, so you're putting a one-year plan together to get outta there. Or maybe you're ready to get into better shape, you loathe working out, but you've put yourself on a six-month plan. Maybe you're just getting over a break-up and it's a fight to not call that joker — I mean, guy — on an hourly basis. Quitting immediately. Avoiding the gym and sitting on your couch with a pint of Blue Bell ice cream. Hitting him up for some crazy ex sex — all of these things may bring forth some immediate gratification. Still, none of it is a wise move in the long run.
This is where rewarding yourself comes in. I actually like the definition of reward a lot because it means "something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc." A reward is something that is earned for some sort of effort that you put in somewhere. And I'm pretty sure that there is some sort of service, merit or hardship that you endured within a seven-day, period. For that, make sure you reward yourself, without reservation or apology. You deserve it, sis. All of us do.
7. How Am I Gonna Rest This Weekend?
I've shared before (check out "What To Do When You Don't Know How To Chill Out") that I was raised to be a Sabbath observer (Friday sunset thru Saturday sunset). Although I'm no longer affiliated with the Christian denomination that taught me that, I still rest on the Sabbath to this day and I will do it until I take my last breath. There is something really dope about getting off of the grid for 24 hours without reservation or apology. And because I do it as a spiritual practice (Exodus 20:8-11), it restores me in ways that nothing else really can.
A part of being productive is doing things. Another part is knowing how to rest because when you stop working; when you veg out and watch a movie; when you unplug from technology; when you decide to sleep in; when you choose not to answer for phone for a while; when you read a book; when you lie on your couch and look up at the ceiling while listening to a favorite playlist; when you meditate; when you sit in the tub for an hour — when you do anything that cultivates peace, ease, calm, leisure and downtime, you refuel your body to do what needs to be done…later.
Some of y'all work so much that you've gotta plan to rest — and you know it. By ending your week with this final question, it reminds you that rest is not a privilege; it needs to be a top priority. Every week. Just like everything else. So, please make sure that you do. The "answer" to how to do the next week well is attached directly to it.
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